The ninth movie in the Planet of the Apes saga opens in theaters today. That can only mean one thing. It’s time to rank some Apes. The first movie, released in 1968, was an adaptation of a French science-fiction novel (La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle). That movie was followed by four sequels released annually from 1970-1973, a live-action TV series, a cartoon series and waves of Apes-related merchandise. After a twenty-eight year absence from the big screen, Fox attempted to reboot the series, but their first effort was a misfire. Then in 2011, they successfully launched a trilogy of prequels of which War for the Planet of the Apes is the most recent.
We won’t be ranking the latest movie because most of us (myself included) haven’t seen it yet. But we will go ape (had to be done) ranking the rest of the movies in the series.
Tim Curry is turning 71 today. The English actor began a distinguished stage career as part of the original West End cast of the musical Hair in 1968. He is a three-time Tony nominee—for playing Mozart in the original Broadway production of Amadeus, Alan Swann in the musical adaptation of My Favorite Year, and King Arthur in Spamalot. He also has received two Olivier Award nominations, for playing The Pirate King in a revival of The Pirates of Penzance, and again for Spamalot.
Another of Curry’s stage roles led to the beginning of his film career: he played Dr. Frank N. Furter in the original London production of The Rocky Horror Show, and then returned to the role in the film adaptation in 1975. He has played a diverse range of characters on screen through the years, often but not always villainous and/or comic. He has played Cardinal Richelieu in a version of The Three Musketeers, Wadsworth the butler in Clue, and a Romanian philanthropist in Congo. He’s even worked with the Muppets.
Directed by: Harmony Korine
Starring: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens
I had no intention of seeing this movie. Frankly, I couldn’t think of anything that could be done with the Apes franchise that would interest me. All the good ideas had been used up by the early 70s. And you couldn’t recreate the shock value of the original. So, I couldn’t get too excited about another attempt to restart the series.
When I heard they were rebooting the Planet of the Apes franchise again, I had low expectations. What was left to do with the concept? However, against all odds, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is getting strong reviews. (I’ll resist the urge to say they finally made a monkey out of me.) So, hey, why not celebrate by looking back at the long-running franchise!